By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife reporting from Budapest

Zoltan Oláh was attacked by Romanian hooligans, officials and Catholics say.
Zoltán Oláh was attacked by Romanian hooligans, officials and Catholics say.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)– Hungary on Monday, June 20, condemned an attack on a Catholic theological institute in neighboring Romania that left its ethnic Hungarian rector briefly unconsciousness.

The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told BosNewsLife it was “stunned” to learn about the “anti-Hungarian atrocities” this weekend in the city of Alba Iulia, in Romania’s Transylvania region.

Catholic witnesses said rector and priest Zoltán Oláh, 40, was beaten late Saturday, June 18, after he tried to film Romanian hooligans who threw stones through windows of his ‘Roman Catholic Theological Institute Alba Iulia’.

The group, described as “intoxicated Romanian hooligans”, then managed to reach Oláh and attacked him with at least one baseball bat, hitting his back and head, Catholics said.


He reportedly lost consciousness and was rushed to the emergency unit of a nearby hospital.


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Oláh was apparently later able to speak again after doctors stitched his wounds.

He did not immediately asnwer phone calls from BosNewsLife. “Another person with a Hungarian nationality” was also beaten, in the overnight attack, said Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Eszter Pataki.

No more details were released about that person’s health situation.


Romanian police reportedly detained two of three suspects involved in the attack, but released them to prepare for a trial. If convicted, they could could face up to 20 years imprisonment.

Pataki said Hungary was looking forward to a successful police investigation and “hopes that the offenders will be brought to justice as soon as possible.”

The latest attack has underscored Hungary’s concerns over the treatment of at least some 1.5 million ethnic Hungarians living in Romania’s Transylvania region, many of them Catholic and Protestant Christians.

Transylvania was mostly part of Hungary till 1920 when it lost its territory to nowadays Romania. “Although there were already attacks against [Hungarian] institutions, there was [in recent times] not yet violence against people,” spokeswoman Pakati said.


“The [Hungarian] Foreign Ministry hopes that this was an isolated incident and…not part of an orchestrated anti-Hungarian campaign” in Romania which would harm bilateral relations, she added in a statement.

Additionally, “The case contradicts the openness and cooperation experienced in recent Hungarian-Romanian contacts,” said Pataki, adding that it recalls a darker era of previous ethnic tensions.

In 1990 at least a handful people died and hundreds were injured in the city of Targu Mures in Romania’s worst ethnic violence since World War Two.

Tensions have recently increased between Hungary and neighboring countries after it adopted a law making it easier for ethnic Hungarians in for instance Romania to become Hungarian citizens.

The center right government of Hungary, which is currently holding the rotating European Union presidency, says it regards the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians, a key policy issue.  Ministers of Hungary, Poland, along with Italy and France urged the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, this year to take up the issue of anti-Christian violence.



  1. @Stefan

    As I understand, you were in Budapest and the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a declaration (oficial or unoficial ?). In the rest of the article you are tallking like you was there,
    in Romania. Why don’t you speak about what the hungarians do in Romania? Because other interests are to be served? It’s not your fault, I don’t blame you. Are those people behind you, that are paying you to say what they want, right. Come on don’t take us as fools.

  2. It’s about three people drink, which broke windows in a row of six buildings, the last building belonging to the Hungarian community. Have been assaulted three people who tried to film / photograph these people drink. It is about three men assaulted, two Romanians and one Hungarian. This incident has no connection with Hungarian nationality. I am in Alba Iulia, and climbing in the city, I noticed the same hundreds of Hungarian tourists visiting the city daily. Nobody here hates Hungarians.

  3. I hope the Romanian authorities will not allow any of the to attackers to escape justice, like the Hungarian authorities did in 1990:
    “On 20 March 1990, Mihăilă Cofariu, one of the ethnic Romanians from Ibăneşti village was severely beaten until unconsciousness and even after. As a consequence, he remained neurologically disabled. The event was presented in international media as a Hungarian being beaten by Romanians. Mihăilă Cofariu was brought in coma to the county’s Emergency Hospital and he spent several months in hospitals in Romania and Germany. One of the perpetrators, ethnic Hungarian Pál Cseresznyés, was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was released in 1996 by Romanian president Emil Constantinescu, as an act of reconciliation. The other convicted perpatrator, Barabas Erno, emigrated to Hungary. He has also received a 10-year imprisonment sentence, but the Hungarian authorities denied all extradition requests from the Romanian authorities.”

  4. @Adrian

    Could you please let me know who pays me? how much? You apparently have more information about that than I. No Adrian I DO NOT get paid for this story. We are an INDEPENDENT news agency. We respect our dedicated readers and therefore try as best as we can to get the facts to them in a timely manner. Ofcourse we can speak about what Hungarians do in Romania, but that was not the topic of this news story.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  5. @Truth

    Perhaps you should take another nickname as your observations including “nobody hates Hungarians” are clearly not in line with reality, for reasons mentioned in the news story.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  6. In the modern history Transylvania belonged of Hungary from 1867 till 1918 when Hungary was part of the Austria-Hungary state. Before 1867 Transylvania was occupied by the Ottomans and Habsburgs during more than 300 years. Transylvania was lost by Hungary in 1920 because the majority of its population was Romanian. The 1.5 million ethnic Hungarians you are mentioning have lived peacefully among the Romanian majority. Tensions between small groups of the two nationalities have been isolated and very rare. The one which occurred in 1990 had more to do with the previous fall of Communism. The “latest attack” you mentioned, as if there were many others before, had more to do with alcohol than with nationalism. It is childish to question the treatment of a minority group by an isolated incident caused by few hooligans. The vast majority of the Romanian population is law abiding and peaceful. The tensions you are mentioning being related with the new Hungarian citizenship law have never occurred between Hungary and Romania.

  7. Dear Adrian,

    We just reported on the reaction from Hungary about the incident. They clearly view it in light with previous incidents, but ofcourse it’s your right to disagree and to call that opinion “childish”. We report, you decide what to think about that. There have been ethnic tensions before as well, not only in 1990. Finally there are different views about Transylvania’s history.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  8. Dear Stefan,

    Your articles about Romania and Romanians have always been disappointing to me, and as you noticed lately to others too. It is much more to be expected from an agency which claims to be Christian. Jesus Christ was very specific when he said that “Blessed are the peacemakers”. Your articles have promoted peace at all between two nationalities which actually have lived peacefully.
    People are not perfect and there is no perfect society in our world. Injustice might happen in democratic countries too. However, isolated incidents don’t turn these countries into non democratic ones. Despite the reality, you struggle to present an oppressed and persecuted Hungarian minority living in a non democratic Romanian state. Romanian democracy is not perfect, but the Hungarian minority is actively participating in the governing of the country. The Hungarian minority living in Romania has rights, minorities in other EU countries only dream about.
    Often, your articles about Romania present ideas promoted by isolated far right groups only. In the 1940s those ideas led to atrocities against people in the fascist occupied Transylvania just because they were Romanians, Jews or Gypsies. Some of these were that Transylvania was mostly part of Hungary till 1920, Romanians and Gypsies are the same nation or that minorities are “attacked” in Romania by the majority. Often you dig in the “garbage can” of history and come up with facts like the Trianon treaty. Any nationalistic affirmation of people like Mr. Tokes is readily posted by your agency. You may claim that you just report facts, but it is obvious that you promote them too. I am sure that you will deny all these as you always have done. I am also sure that you are ready to claim your innocence as you always do, but I would like to remind you that the Bible says that one day everybody will give account for his or her words.

  9. Dear Stefan,

    In my comment, please read “have not promoted” in the phrase “Your articles have promoted peace at all between two nationalities which actually have lived peacefully.”
    I apologize for the typing error.
    Thank you

  10. Dear Stefan J. Bos,

    Your news are clearly focused on interests of Hungary and has nothing in common with news worthy for Christians generally. It is well known how important is the role of church in Hungarian interests. Many of them is built up not on Jesus Christ, but on love towards Hungary, or, better, hate towards surrounding nations. Christ will defend His interests, but You are out of it. If the church in Transilvania take care for Christ´s affairs, this couldn´t be understood as ethnic attack focused on Hungarians (Hungarian Christians), as You introduced it. I am a quite disappointed by Your work as The One who I am serving to, is also. Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! And be afraid of that, who can kill the soul, not just the body!

  11. Dear Szandor,

    Thanks for your concern about my relationship with Jesus Christ. He does not kill me, as I have eternal life in Him because I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I trust that you have also. I do not believe that He is disappointed by our work, just because we report on something you for whatever reason don’t like. I do agree with you that there are churches that care more about nationalism than about the Gospel. That’s true for both some Hungarian, Romanian or other churches. Our news is not focused on the interests of Hungary. We are an independent news agency.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  12. Dear Adrian,

    We have not said that Romania is non-democratic. All we have done is reporting a news development. I have not said that Hungarians live in a non-democratic Romanian state. BosNewsLife is not about promoting nationalism. In fact, we also have covered very critical stories about Hungary. Most recently: ‘Clinton Questions HUNGARY’S Democratic Credentials’. About the “Christian” aspect of the news agency: We try to cover Christian news stories in general just as Reuters would cover financial news. About giving account for my words? Well I am not perfect. However the Bible makes clear that everyone who has accepted Christ as Lord is saved from the wrath of God, through Christs righteousness and not our righteousness. In the words of Paul and the other apostles in Acts 16:31″And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” That’s really great NEWS.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  13. Dear Stefan,

    The Bible also makes it clear that the result of acceptance of Christ as Lord is doing good deeds in His strength. In this case one of them might be promoting peace between the two nations.
    All the best to you.

  14. Dear Adrian,

    Ofcourse I would be very happy if the article promotes peace between the two nations. It is certainly a reflection of an imperfect world and genuine concern about an attack. If that’s considered to be a good deed that’s fine. However I am sure you agree that good deeds doesn’t save us. Ephesians 2:8-9 for instance says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” About peace between nations I would say that Christ, at the moment, is not dealing with the world, but with His people, those who accepted Him as Lord and Savior, according to the Bible. That will only change when He returns and establishes His 1,000 year Kingdom. Matthew 24:6-7 says: “And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife

  15. Indeed, the Bible makes it clear that salvation is through Christ’s righteousness and not through good works. However, good works are the expression of a converted heart. If acceptance of Christ is not followed by a change of heart, the Bible makes it clear that salvation is lost. According to the Bible, some Christians will hear the most dreadful answer on the day of judgement: “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
    Everybody will be responsible for the truth heard and lived in his or her own life.

  16. Dear Adrian,

    The Bible’s New Testament does NOT say that if your heart is not changed you are lost. Romans 8:1-2 says for instance: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” The day of judgement is only to be feared by those who are not in Christ Jesus. That can include people who call themselves ‘Christians’, but in fact view Christianity just as a religion, like say Islam, Judaism and so on. They ofcourse are under the law, as they rejected Christ’s salvation. But those who have made a personal decision for Christ, are saved according to the Bible. John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
    Just truly praying something like: Thank you Jesus Christ that you died for my sins and rose up from the death so I can have eternal life. Please forgive me my sins, make me the person you want me to be, I want to be your child” is basically all it takes.
    I agree with you that a conversion will result in a change of heart and can result in good works. But Christians, including myself, will ultimately also fail as we live in a sinful world. However we have to realize that Ephesians 2:8-9 says clearly: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–
    not by works, so that no one can boast.” ((I have taken the New International Version).
    Finally I just did a news story on a horrible incident. I would have written the same about ethnic Romanian or any other Christians coming to our attention. They are ALL part of the Body of Christ. I love Romania.

    Best regards,

    Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife


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